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Students' social awareness boosted through fund


Students, John Neligan, John Smith, Dawn Dines and Tim Anderson (SOS Facilitator)

A project supported by Sue Mountstevens through the Community Action Fund has been working with young people across Somerset to raise awareness of anti-social behaviour and violent crime.

The latest workshop took place on Tuesday March 3rd when a team of facilitators from SOS Global, who received £5,000 funding, worked with 150 students at Churchill Academy on a programme designed to target knife crime and gangs. A martial arts expert and a Crown Court Judge with over 18 years’ experience took part in the session. Since retiring John Neligan has been volunteering to work on the project the students finding his questions and answer sessions invaluable and really bring to light possible life outcomes and the role of the judiciary.

This project is supported by the Commissioner’s Community Action Fund awarded by the Police Community Trust.  The Commissioner’s Community Action Fund was set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset to tackle ASB, domestic and sexual violence, burglary and provide support for victims of crime.

The project has been supported by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) Community Action Fund. Speaking about the project, PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “I’m really pleased to be supporting this project and the valuable work it’s doing to educate our young people about the dangers of knife crime and gangs. No good can ever come from carrying knives and it’s important that we work with young people – and let them explore the issues for themselves – to raise awareness of a serious subject.

“My Community Action Fund is there to support local community and voluntary organisations who can benefit the people of Avon and Somerset and which tackle local priorities as set out in my Police and Crime Plan. This project shows what can be achieved from the fund and I hope it encourages other groups to apply if they feel they too can make a difference.”

Dawn Dines said, “We at SOS Global have worked with over 5,000 young people in the region supporting young people, especially in areas of high deprivation. Over the past months we have engaged students from the Horizon and Voyage pupil referral units as a part of this project. Each unit is statistically evaluated by a series of questionnaires and provides a valuable insight the thoughts, needs and aspirations of the young people.

“At Churchill we engaged 132 students over the day with some really positive results. 82.8% of the young people stated they gained information they were unaware of and after the workshops 93% had been positively influenced away from use of knives and involvement in gangs showing how effective our work can be.”

During the day the Chief Executive of the Police & Crime Commissioners Office John Smith attended the school to support the project.

This programme has evolved to address violent crime in Somerset at grass roots levels.

Dawn said,   ”Our aim is to teach young people prior to any incidents occurring and not dealing with them after the event. What we deliver are examples of real life scenarios which students can incorporate into everyday life and understand the outcomes. This approach has led to workshops that are young people led for young people and show how that adverse behaviour cannot only affect themselves, but friends, family and whole communities. Inputs from victims and reformed gang members have a real influence and hopefully we will be able to make a real difference to the future of other young people.” 

Posted on Monday 9th March 2015
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